Review: Deanston Highland Single Malt 18 Years Old Bourbon Cask Finish

New to the distillery’s permanent lineup in 2015, Deanston’s 18 year old expression has more going on than the relatively light and straightforward 12 year old. Note that this is the bourbon cask finished expression — which is finished in first-fill bourbon barrels — and not the more expensive/exotic Cognac cask finished expression. Here, we find…

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Review: 2013 Madrona Chardonnay and Zinfandel

El Dorado County, just southwest of Lake Tahoe, is home to Madroña Vineyards (mind the tilde), a boutique winery with a wide range of offerings. Zinfandel, of course, is a focus, and today we look at its 2013 zin as well as its chardonnay. Madroña is brought to us today by Gold Medal Wine Club, which…

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Review: RedTerra Vodka

Quick: What’s a spirit made from agave? Tequila? Yes. Mezcal? Yes. Vodka? Yes! RedTerra is an agave-based vodka, which is made especially discordant due to the heavy Russian imagery — red, black, and an eagle — used on the bottle label. But RedTerra starts with 100% real blue agave harvested in the Jalisco Highlands. It’s then…

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Review: Wines of Fathers & Daughters, 2015 Releases

Fathers & Daughters is a brand new winery operating out of Anderson Valley. Its first two wines, a sauvignon blanc and a pinot noir, come from the Ferrington Vineyard. Thoughts follow. 2013 Fathers & Daughters Sauvignon Blanc Anderson Valley Ferrington Vineyard – Minerally and herbal, this grassy sauvignon blanc offers a restrained edge of coconut…

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Review: The Glenlivet Nadurra Peated Whisky Cask Finish

Glenlivet’s third Nadurra (Gaelic for “natural”) expression is here (released yesterday) — and it’s Glenlivet’s first peated whisky in over 100 years. For those unfamiliar with this line — which now includes three Nadurra bottlings, all permanent extensions to the Glenlivet stable — the goal is to bring whisky back to its roots, through cask…

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Review: 2013 Flora Springs Merlot Napa Valley

This gentle merlot is classically Napa, with notes of strawberry and raspberry jam, layered with milk chocolate. Not at all root beerish like last year’s bottling, it instead veers more into Christmas spices while sticking with the overall sweet focus. Simple but enjoyable. B+ / $30 / florasprings.com Related Stories: Review: Flora Springs 2013 Sauvignon Blanc…

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Review: Wines of Orsianna, 2015 Releases

Orsianna is made by the family of Fred Tocchini, who operates the San Francisco Wine Trading Company. (We reviewed their single-barrel bottling of Four Roses a few months back.) Now we’re taking a peak into what Tocchini and co. can do with wine, including some fresh whites and some lightly aged reds. 2013 Orsianna Sauvignon…

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Tasting Lost Spirits Distillery Whiskey Experiments

Lost Spirits — the company that’s knee deep in ultra-accelerated spirits aging technology — has largely devoted its early experiments to one liquor category: Rum. Why rum? It’s easier to age, with simpler ingredients and a more straightforward line from white spirit to old brown stuff. Whiskey is a bit of a holy grail for…

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